HAVING sighted available information with regard to the granting of the mining lease to bothAsian Pacific Investment Development (APID) and Bingtang Borneo it is quite clear that due process under the Mines and Minerals Regulation has not been followed.
Transparency Solomon Islands hold the view that the decision reached is questionable and possibly unlawful.
It is questionable given the fact that many procedures required before a decision may be reached were not followed.
- Surface Access Agreement, a prerequisite to granting any form of prospecting, did not follow the prescribed process for the granting of mining licence. These processes under our law are supposed to protect our people and allow them to fully participate in the negotiations.Landowners told TSI that both company never undertake prospecting on their land and the companies offered money to individual who are not landowners to signed document. People whose signatures appear on the document purported to be a SAA between landowners and APID deny that they were shown the full document and understood what they were signing. They allege that they were given a blank piece of paper to sign and they thought it was an attendance list only. It also is not clear from available information that any officer from the Ministry was present during the negotiations for SAA between landowners and APID as required by law.
- The photos inserted in anAPID presentation in support of their application to renew their prospecting licence have dates stated 2012 which if true then APID was illegally carrying out prospecting during the period when they had no current licence.
- Granting of the second prospecting or mining lease to Bingtang Borneo would contravene section 20, subsection (5) and (6) of the Mines and Minerals Act 1996.Because the boundaries are not clear – appears to overlap.
- Landowner’s objections presented to the Mines and Mineral Board was never considered.
- It normally takes three years and up forprospecting to be completed before an application for mining lease can be made, but in the case of Bingtang the license was obtained in instance timing.
- No public awareness was done by the Companies, Ministry of Mines and Environment.
- Notice for compulsory acquisition of land – unclear whether it is for prospecting or mining by Bintang. Prospecting does not require compulsory acquisition of land. For compulsory acquisition of land, land identification, boundaries etc have to be determined first. This allows for the right landowners to be holding the Perpetual Title to the land, value of land be calculated, and they be compensated for the damage and resources on the land. This process has not been done.
- Confusion of the roles of the Board and the Minister.
- Lack of due diligence by the Mines and Minerals Board and the Minister of Mines to verify companies profiling whether they have mining experiences, technical expertise and capacity to implement the content of its environmental assessment report.
The Minister and the Ministry of Mines and Mineral as well as the Mines and Mineral Board should explain these irregularities.
This is so unfair to the landowners.
Landowners need all the information about the impact of development on their land both positive and negative.
Major development must have Landowners support in order to be successful.
It is important to note that corruption also means unfairness. The leaders that should be looking after the best interest of our people and resources owners and its people is failing its citizens in this case.
– By Transparency Solomon Islands